“You could see in their eyes how relieved they were when we arrived,” said Odd Fischer, head of the mountain rescue unit of the Norrbotten County police, to the TT news agency.
The two men, both in their thirties and from the west coast of Sweden, had been stuck on the 2,106-metre-high mountain since Saturday, when the weather turned on them during their climb to the summit.
The two men decided to seek shelter in a hut near the top of the mountain. Despite their shelter not being insulated, the two men managed to keep warm by making use of two blankets and huddling together under one of the berths.
The two men phoned the emergency rescue services when the storm hadn’t eased up on Sunday morning, but due to unfavourable weather conditions, the rescue service could not get them out of their predicament until Thursday.
“They’ve done remarkably well. We were expecting to carry them out on stretchers. They could have been unconscious or weak from managing without food and water for five day. But these guys looked after themselves,” Fischer told TT.
The two men had managed to keep hydrated by collecting snow in empty bottles and melting it against their bodies.
The chocolate they had brought as a snack for their day trip became their only sustenance during their five day ordeal.
The two men had considered leaving the shelter, but decided it was too risky.
“They were completely right to stay put,” Fischer said to TT.
After airlifting the two men to safety and driving them to the rescue centre’s headquarters in Kiruna, the two men had a chance to take a shower and were then examined by the centre’s medical staff.